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Frontline contract staff will receive Pandemic Payment

The Pandemic Special Recognition Payment has been approved for hundreds of catering and cleaning contractors – after the delay was highlighted by a Galway Senator.

Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan revealed that cleaners and caterers in hospitals had been left waiting a year and a half for their payment when their HSE colleagues had already been paid.

But this week she said she was delighted to confirm the long-awaited payments are now being issued.

Senator Dolan received confirmation from Kosi Corporation that payments have been approved for over 1,100 Noonan contract cleaners.

And she said that payments for other contract agencies such as Aramark would soon be processed – with the bulk of payments to be approved within the next week.

“It may take agency contractors a week or so to issue payments through their own accounts sections so I would hope to see this payment in people’s bank accounts within the next couple of weeks,” she said.

Senator Dolan said that the move was ‘so overdue for people working as contractors in our hospitals’.

“The Government made a decision in January 2022 to acknowledge the incredible work by healthcare staff during the Covid pandemic and the service given in a crisis to help keep people safe,” she said.

“These workers went to work every day with patients who were very ill with Covid-19 and faced more risk for themselves and especially vulnerable family members when they came home.

“I met with contract workers from Portiuncula University Hospital last November in relation to eligibility for the Pandemic payment and this was clarified when I raised it in the Seanad at that time.

“Again workers met with me two weeks ago to highlight concerns in relations to payment delays and I raised this issue in the Seanad last week. I want to thank the women working in Portiuncula University Hospital who highlighted a situation for thousands of staff across the country. They have helped accelerate these much-needed payments that families are counting on this year,” said the Ballinasloe Senator.

There was a certain amount of resentment when other sectors within the HSE received their pandemic payments as some contract workers felt that it was an ‘us and them’ situation.

Senator Dolan said that caterers and cleaners had also “stepped up to the mark” to do their jobs like everyone else within the sector.

(Photo: Senator Aisling Dolan (centre) with some of the eligible contract cleaners and caterers at Portiuncula Hospital (from left) Nora Dowd, Kelly Manning, Nataya Fogarty, Maureen Riddell, Phyllis Kelly and Roisín Mollaghan).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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